Posts Tagged ‘Battle of Brooklyn’

A 1951 stamp explains the Battle of Brooklyn

May 25, 2015

This image of George Washington evacuating his troops illustrates the dramatic escape made by Patriot forces to Manhattan after the bruising Battle of Brooklyn in August 1776.


The stamp was issued in Brooklyn in 1951, commemorating the battle’s 175th anniversary. This is Brooklyn Heights 239 years ago; the Fulton Ferry house is at right. Here’s the historical recap:

“On August 27, the Red Coats marched against the Patriot position at Brooklyn Heights, overcoming the Americans at Gowanus Pass and then outflanking the entire Continental Army,” states

“Howe failed to follow the advice of his subordinates and storm the redoubts at Brooklyn Heights, and on August 29 General Washington ordered a brilliant retreat to Manhattan by boat, thus saving the Continental Army from capture. At the Battle of Brooklyn, the Americans suffered 1,000 casualties to the British loss of only 400 men. On September 15, the British captured New York City.”

Whatever happened to Ponkiesberg, Brooklyn?

July 4, 2013

CourtandpacificstreetssignToday the corner of Court and Pacific Streets is squarely in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood.

If you were standing here in the 17th century, however, you’d be in an enclave Dutch settlers called Ponkiesberg.

Ponkiesberg? Also spelled with an h at the end, it actually translates into “cobble hill,” says The New York Times, which explains that the name stems from the steep cobblestone road once at this corner.

Articles from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle archives supply more info.

PonkiesbergplaquePonkiesberg was the name of a “conical hill which was situated from sixty to eighty feet above the present grade of the streets,” a story from 1896 tell us.

“[A] circular road led up to the strange looking elevation, which many persons thought was the work of clever colonists rather than nature.”

Ponkiesberg the hill gave patriots an edge in the Revolutionary War.

A plaque on the side of Trader Joe’s, which now occupies the corner, states that from the Ponkiesberg fortification built here, George Washington was able to observe the fighting at Gowanus during the Battle of Long Island in 1776.

Maybe we’ll see a real estate rebranding of the neighborhood?

Bay Ridge’s tiny Revolutionary War cemetery

October 11, 2010

Narrows Avenue in Bay Ridge is a lovely expanse, lined with grand homes parallel to a breathtaking view of New York Harbor.

But at tiny Mackay Place, there’s a remnant of another era: an 18th century family graveyard.

Known as the Barkaloo (or Barkuloo) Cemetery, it’s the final resting place for the two sons of Dutch immigrant William Harmans Barkaloo and for Simon Cortelyou, all of whom fought and died nearby during the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Brooklyn.

“The Cortelyou family, who owned the land, allowed the ground to be used as a graveyard for some 60 soldiers who died during the battle,” according to The Graveyard Shift: A Family Historian’s Guide to New York City Cemeteries by Carolee Inskeep.

More Barkaloo family members are interred here; there’s one stone listing each name.

The last burial took place in 1848. But fresh U.S. flags decorate the few headstones. Someone is taking care of the dead here.

Red Hook’s revolutionary history

April 27, 2008

New street signs in Red Hook commemorate Red Hook Lane, an old Indian trail that served as the main route in and out of Red Hook to the heights of Brooklyn during the Revolutionary War. 

Such an important street met a cruel fate. It existed on early maps, from Henry Street to Fulton. But by the end of the 19th century, development had reduced it to a block-long alley off Livingston Street. In 2007, Red Hook Lane suffered the ultimate blow—it was officially de-mapped! 

Also new in the Hook: The ground under a tiny triangle of land on Nelson and Columbia Streets may contain soldiers’ remains. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle covers it here.